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Bromley FC (...And the Rest of the World)

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Bromley January Update 2017/2018

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Overview

We started 2018 playing the top team in the Premier League, Tottenham. Their offense was unstoppable – Edison Cavani was not only the best player in the Premier League this season, but he was on pace to absolutely destroy the league’s record goals scored by a single player, having scored an amazing 26 goals in 18 appearances. We survived the first half without conceding a goal, going into the second half with a 0-0 scoreline.

Remember how I said the boys looked like they were coming of age against Arsenal? Well, they were playing their second game in as many days – they were tired, injured, and in need of rest. They held their own as the potent force in league offensively in the first half, one that destroyed us 4-1 in our first ever Premier League match, but it looked unlikely they would do the same in the second half. The boys, however, had a different plan – when no one believed in them, not even their own manager, they rose to the occasion and responded with every Tottenham attack with one of their own. Shot for shot, it kept going the entire half when finally, in the 89th minute, Lukas Kubik shot a screamer from just outside the box and gave us the 1-0 victory. I don’t think I have ever been prouder of some pixels and names since I started playing FM in 1998. I am writing this from inside a plane, heading to China, and I think I just woke up half the cabin with my victory shout when Kubik scored. I haven’t felt like this about a win in this game in a long, long time. Truly a special victory.

We had Aston Villa away from home next – they were struggling in 17th Place, and I did not want to do them any favors. They took the lead, but yet again, the boys showed poise and patience, and we ran out 2-1 winners, with Musah having a great game, scoring a goal and getting a 9.0 AR. Our third straight win how had us in a respectable 13th Place, twelve points ahead of Stoke in 18th Place. It was starting to look like we were going to survive the drop this year.

In order to reduce the wage budget a little bit and put some cash back into our accounts, I sold GK Raffaele Di Gennaro for £1,000,000 to Sampdoria – he was not the first choice anymore, and was starting to make noise about receiving more playing time. It was a deal that was best for both sides, although I am not quick to forget his contributions last season. I also managed to get £275,000 for 2017 youth intake Charalabos Misailidis – I did not see him becoming good enough to be part of the team, and Sheffield Wednesday’s offer was more than generous. Finally, I let go of wage burden Massimo Luongo, paying him close to £50,000 but opening quite a bit of space in the wage budget.

Our next match was at home to West Ham, and the team continued their top form by making it four wins in a row. This was our finest performance all season, winning the match 4-0, with captain Elliot Law scoring a brace and the MotM going to Lukas Kubik, who scored a goal and delivered an assist. We were far and wide the better team, and we played extremely attractive and fluid football. With everyone in the league having played 21 games, we were not situated in 10th Place, a good fifteen points off of the relegation zone.

After a solid FA Cup victory against Rotherham, we faced West Bromwich at home. They were not doing as well as last year and were currently in 12th Place, two spots below us. We had drawn against them in our first game, and I was hoping this time we could take away three points from them. We were absolutely the better team in the first half, but two counter-attacks led to two goals from their striker Vedran Vinko, who was mercifully substituted at the end of the half. We simply had no answer for him. Musah and Chuvalskiy were our goalscorers as we ended the half 2-2. Frustratingly, that’s how the match ended, despite more of the same in the second half. To make matters worse, Chuvalskiy was ruled out with a sprained wrist he had picked up during the match for the two weeks. A few days later, I signed Brazilian midfielder Diego on free for a £6,750 base weekly salary. He was too talented not to pick up, and I imagined he would do well playing alongside Magnusson and Chuvalskiy in the midfield.

Our final match of the month was at Old Trafford, away to champions Manchester United. They were led by Javier Hernandez, who was just behind Cavani in the league goalscoring charts with 22 goals in 22 appearances, and they had just bought Jack Wilshere for £18,250,000 from Arsenal. It was an absolutely terrible performance – honestly, I do not know why the team decided to show up at all today. Manchester United should have been ashamed of themselves for only beating us 3-0, because we were worthless. Where was the team that defeated Arsenal and Tottenham? Certainly not in Old Trafford on this night.

Despite how it ended, we were great overall this month. We advanced a few places in the table, and the victory against Tottenham was amazing. The boys are certainly turning into men in front of our eyes, and at a rapid pace. Hopefully, Diego will be able to add some creativity to the center of the midfield, and deliver some much needed assists to the frontline.

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Great run - it's good to see you climbing the table :thup:

You should get 40 points in no time and survive no problem on that form!

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Survival should be definitely attainable. I would think a top ten finish may be a good goal :)

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Great run - it's good to see you climbing the table :thup:

You should get 40 points in no time and survive no problem on that form!

Survival should be definitely attainable. I would think a top ten finish may be a good goal :)
Definitely clicking a bit now.

Thank you! The team really has hit a great run of form that, at the very least, should keep us in the Premier League for another season. I do think that Top Ten might be reaching too far though :)

Looking good for survival :thup:

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2018/2019 Transfers

This was the most active season, in terms of sheer amount of money being spent, in recent memory. Almost all the big clubs had one or more large transfer, and almost £70,000,000 worth of players being sold by Shakhtar Donetsk alone. Jovetic and Piatti were signed for more than £40,000,000 each, making them two of the most expensive signings of all-time. But it did not stop there – there were eight signings that cost more than £20,000,000, a huge number by any standard. Below you will find a quick review of the transfers that took place in both the summer and January transfer windows.

Stevan Jovetic: A Fiorentina legend, he was sold to Arsenal for £42,000,000 in the summer. One of the best players on the planet the past few years, he was the driving force behind Fiorentina’s Champions League title winning squad in 2015. He has done well for Arsenal this season, scoring 11 goals in 22 appearances for the club.

Pablo Piatti: The talented Argentine was bought for a staggering £41,500,000 by Chelsea from Valencia in the summer. While in Spain, he became one of Valencia’s most important players, although many have questioned why Chelsea paid so much for the 28 year old midfielder. In 21 appearances this season, he has scored 4 goals and delivered 4 assists for his new club, which are paying him £175,000 a week.

Vladimir Weiss: Signed in January, Weiss cost Liverpool £35,500,000 to acquire from Wolfsburg. He came to the German club in 2014 for £6,750,000, steadily improving since then, culminating in a sensational 2016/17 season where he won the German Player of the Year. He was also named to his second straight German Bundesliga Team of the Year, and won the Wolfsburg Player of the Year. Before making the move to Liverpool, he was top performer in the Bundesliga this season with an 8.03 AR, having scored 4 goals and handed out 6 assists in 15 appearances.

Willian: Bought by Lyonnais in the summer for £24,500,000, the Brazilian was a Shakhtar legend, spending ten years at the club and becoming possibly their best player of all time. He captured the Ukrainian league title seven times – so far this season for Lyonnais, he has played in 20 games, scoring 7 goals and delivering 8 assists while recording a 7.91 AR. He won the Ukrainian League’s Foreign Player of the Year award twice (2011, 2015).

Moussa Sissoko: Manchester United acquired him from Marseille for £24,000,000 in the summer – it was almost the same price that the French club paid Toulouse in 2014. Sissoko was part of the French Ligue 1 title winning squad in 2016, and had a 7.32 AR.

Fabio Coentrao: No one is quite clear as to why Real Madrid decided to let the Portuguese go for £22,500,000 to Manchester United, but that is what happened. He had been one of the best players in Spain, even winning the Real Madrid Player of the Year in 2016. He won the La Liga title twice (2013, 2017) and the Champions League twice (2014, 2017) with the Spanish club.

Roderick Miranda: Manchester United paid Malaga £20,500,000 for the 26 year old Portuguese defender in January – a fee that many have felt was a vast overpayment for a player that has not achieved much. He was having a decent season at Malaga before being bought – in 19 appearances, he had a 7.02 AR. He was initially bought by Malaga in 2015 from Benfica for £5,000,000.

Taras Stepanenko: Manchester City bought him from Shakhtar in the summer for £20,500,000. He spent seven years with Shakhtar, winning the Ukrainian league five times – so far this season, he has played in 20 games for his new club, recording a 7.19 AR.

Jack Wilshere: Manchester United’s second big signing in the January window, they acquired Wilshere from Arsenal for £18,750,000 in a shock move. The 26 year old England international was part of the Arsenal team that were crowned 2015 Premier League champions – in 18 appearances this season, he had 6 goals and 5 assists while recording a 7.21 AR.

Daniel Correa: Inter Milan beefed up their front line, acquiring Correa from Real Sociedad for £18,250,000. The 22 year old Uruguayan was bought by the Spanish club in 2015 for £2,800,000, and blossomed into a star in 2016/17, scoring 19 goals in 35 appearances. Before moving to Italy, he had scored 8 goals in 10 appearances this season, recording a 7.58 AR.

Kevin Hofman: Bought by Manchester City from rivals Chelsea in the summer for £18,250,000, the Dutch international has been outstanding for his new club. He was initially bought by Chelsea in 2012 for £2,000,000 from Ajax. He was part of the Holland team that captured the Euro U21 Championship title in 2017.

Nicolas Otamendi: Barcelona acquired the 29 year old Argentine defender from Porto for £17,250,000 in the summer. He was named the Portuguese League Central Defender of the Year four times (2013, 2105, 2016, 2017), and won the Portuguese League once in 2015. He was named in the Portuguese League Team of the Year six straight times, and was team’s Player of the Year last season. He is widely considered to be the best defender to have graced the Portuguese League this decade.

Neuton: Chelsea acquired the defender for £16,750,000 from French champions Lyonnais in the January window. Bought by the French club in 2016 from Almeria for £6,750,000, he was averaging 4.81 TpG and 7.07 AR before moving to England this season. He was part of the Udinese team that captured the Serie A title in 2012, and won the French Ligue 1 last season with Lyonnais.

Elber Escobar: Chelsea bought the 24 year old Ecuadorian defender from Argentinean club Boca Juniors for £16,750,000 in the summer. He won the Copa Sudamericana in 2015 with the club and the Argentine Premier Division in 2017 before moving on to England. He’s been decent at the club thus far, appearing in 21 games and recording a 6.96 AR.

Gaston Ramirez: Just one and a half years after bringing him to England, Manchester United sold Ramirez for £15,500,000 to Dortmund. They originally bought him for £18,500,000 from Palermo, and he gave them a solid season in 2016/17, playing in 32 games, scoring 11 goals, and recording a 7.17 AR. He was doing decent this season for them, appearing in 10 games and delivering 5 assists – why they chose to sell him at a loss is still a mystery. He won the Premier League title with Man United in 2017.

Pavel Nyiakaichyk: Marseilled acquired the Belarusian international for £15,250,000 from Dinamo Moscow. From 2012 to 2016, he won the Dinamo Moscow Player of the Year five straight times, as well as getting named to the Russian Premier Division Team of the Year those years, as well.

Yaroslav Rakitskyi: Another Shakhtar export this season, Arsenal bought him for £15,250,000. Also part of the most successful stretch in Shakhtar history, he won the Ukrainian League six times with his former club. He was also part of the team that took Shakhtar to the Semi-Finals of the Champions League in 2012.

Serge Aurier: Shakhtar’s only big signing this season after dismantling its all-conquering team, Aurier came from French club Lens for £14,750,000. He won the African Cup of Nations with his home country of Ivory Coast in 2017, and was Lens Player of the Year in 2015.

Mateo Kovacevic: This talented Croatian came from Dinamo to Bayern Munich for £13,750,000 – he has not has the best of starts in Germany, however, showcasing inconsistent form. He was a star for Dinamo, winning the Croatian League six times, and was also part of the Croatian national team that won the European U21 Championship in 2013.

Gary Gardner: Arsenal bought the English midfielder from Swansea for £13,250,000 in the January window, just one and a half years after Swansea had acquired him from Sunderland for £10,750,000. He was having an average season for Swansea before moving to Arsenal, appearing 16 games and handing out 4 assists. He was crowned the 2014 Championship Young Player of the Year with Portsmouth, before his move to Sunderland.

Steve Hughes: The highly touted English prospect left Manchester United for £12,750,000, joining Tottenham in London. His contract was due to be up at the end of the season, and the club and player failed to agree on terms, which led to Man United finally selling him instead of risking losing him for nothing. The 21 year old right back is considered one of the top young talents in England, and he won the Premier League title last season with Man United.

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Congrats on the two massive wins and unlucky on the Utd result!

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Congrats on the two massive wins and unlucky on the Utd result!

Tottenham and Arsenal were huge for us, but Man Utd as a wake up call :(

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CHAMPIONS CUP 2017/2018

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Group A: The defending champions Real Madrid had little trouble topping the group, but Austrian champions Salzburg surprised Shakhtar and joined Madrid in the Second Round, despite conceding 13 goals. Spartak Moscow were miserable, managing to get a single point from six games.

Group B: In one of the most surprising results in recent years, PAOK qualified in front of German champions Bayern Munich and French heavyweights Lille, joining AC Milan in the Second Round. Bayern Munich’s elimination continued to highlight the failure of German clubs in the competition the past decade, just one year after the club topped its group last season.

Group C: Manchester United topped the group without losing a single game, but the surprise was Benfica beating out Italian Serie A champions Sampdoria for the second spot. FC Twente finished last, having won only one game.

Group D: This was a pretty straight forward group, with Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool topping the group at the expense of Malaga and Standard Leige. The former was especially disappointing, considering they were only able to win one game.

Group E: Tottenham, who have been beaten in the Finals the past two seasons, topped the group, while Dortmund finally got over their hump and made it to the Second Round. Juventus were unable to compete, finishing third and conceding 10 goals, while FC Zurich finished in last place.

Group F: This was an easy group for Lyonnais, who topped the group. The real battle was for second place, and FC Kobenhavn won that one, knocking out Fenerbache and Sparta Prague.

Group G: Arsenal topped the group, and were joined by Semi-Finalists CSKA Moscow in the Second Round, knocking out Vitesse and a disappointing Celtic side. Arsenal were also beaten Semi-Finalists in 2017.

Group H: Barcelona topped the group in their quest to reclaim the Champions League trophy from their rivals Real Madrid, and were joined by Sporting. Inter Milan were hugely disappointing in their exit, and Dinamo Bucharest were also knocked out.

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Bromley February Update 2017/2018

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Overview

A solid FA Cup Fourth Round victory over Burnley was followed by a home game against Manchester City. They had the highest payroll in the Premier League, spending £124,000,000 on salaries, as compared to Bromley, which spent £7,150,000. Under the management of Andre Villas-Boas, Man City had put the drama of last season behind them, and were currently battling Tottenham for 1st Place in the Premier League. They had the best defense in the league, conceding only 13 goals in 23 games. It was Hulk who destroyed us in the first half, scoring a brace and generally owning us down the left wing. We went into the second half down 2-1, with Emmanuel Musah having picked up a knock early in the half. Hulk ended up winning the MotM, and the match finished with the same result. I couldn’t fault my boys too much – Man City are simply formidable. Their starting eleven could pass as the World Team of the Year. After the game, Musah was ruled out for six weeks with a pulled hamstring – terrible news for us as he was our top scorer.

Next we had Everton at home – like us, they were in the middle of table, safe from relegation but too far off to realistic challenge for a spot in Europe. They were a strong team compared to us, but I was hoping for three points, nonetheless. The team, however, wanted to make a point – what transpired was eclipsed the Arsenal match as the most famous victory in the history of the club. We absolutely decimated them, running out 5-1 winners in front of our home fans. Left winger (and Bromley youth product) Ebby Harwood scored a brace and won the MotM in a scintillating performance down the left flank – he continues to develop and has got to rank as the second best player, behind Elliot Law (who grabbed a goal of his own), to ever come out of the Bromley youth academy. What a victory!

We travelled north to Liverpool for our next match, facing a team that was in 7th Place in the Premier League, a disappointing position for one of the Big Six clubs. They had recently spent £35,500,000 on Vladimir Weiss, but manager Malkay Mackay was having trouble motivating the Runners-Up last season to perform as expected of them. They decided to make an example of us, however, and we were down 3-0 inside 45 minutes. Luis Suarez got himself sent off just before half-time, but it did not matter – we were atrocious. We ended up losing 4-0, a scoreline we thoroughly deserved. From winning 5-1 to losing 4-0, what in the world is up with this team?

We did not fare much better in our FA Cup Fifth Round match against Leeds, barely maintaining a draw away from home. The scoreline ended 2-2, but we deserved to lose this match – where did the heart go? Was Musah’s absence that much of an issue? We had beaten Everton 5-1 without him, so why were we playing this way? We ended our month in the worst possible – low morale and on a winless streak. Hopefully, March would bring with it better luck and better form.

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A top 10 finish still looks very possible! Great season so far.

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A top 10 finish still looks very possible! Great season so far.

Top ten is looking more and more possible, yes :) Its been a very successful season, I have to admit. We couldnt ask for more from our first year in the top flight!

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Looking like a great season.

It has been a season to remember, yes - we need to maintain this form and stay in the midtable!

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Going great in the top flight :thup: and looks like you spent your money wisely in the summer.

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I can't quite believe how few points the teams at the bottom of the table have. Definitely an advantage for you, as you're probably safe from relegation now :thup:

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Going great in the top flight :thup: and looks like you spent your money wisely in the summer.
I can't quite believe how few points the teams at the bottom of the table have. Definitely an advantage for you, as you're probably safe from relegation now :thup:

Everything was going great until the month of March came around! As for spending my money wisely, the jury is still out on whether alot of those players were worth the fees paid for them. And Im not as safe as I once was from relegation :(

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Bromley March Update 2017/2018

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Overview

We started of the month in dire fashion against Chelsea – we went to Stamford Bridge and lost 2-0. There wasn’t much to comment on, other than the fact that we were experiencing some rugged form. I was hoping that would change at Hayes Lane against impressive Fulham, who were the best team outside of the Big Six this season. On our best day, we have proven that we can compete with the best – this, however, was not one of those days. We lost 3-0 in front of our home crowd thanks to some atrocious defending and complete lack of imagination by our strikers. I could not wait to get this game over with, and by the 60th minute, I just found myself time would go a little bit faster. One of our worst performances ever.

Reading were next – this a team that was promoted alongside us, but were having a much more difficult season. We were facing them at the Madejski, where they had a history of beating us properly, as witnessed by our 4-0 and 3-1 losses to them within the last two years. This time, however, we would fight it out to a 1-1 draw, although we were the better team, it had to be said. Musah scored our goal, but we had our young left wing protégé Ebby Harwood get injured with a twisted ankle that would rule him out of the next seven weeks. We faced Norwich in the FA Cup Sixth Round next, and we came away 5-1 winners at Hayes Lane, with Musah and Kubik both scoring braces. Where were these types of performances in the league?!

The draw for the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup came out a few days later – now, I must admit, I was not following the cup as much as I should have, otherwise I would have realized that remaining teams were Sunderland, Brighton, Bristol City, and us! We drew Championship outfit Sunderland – regardless of who we faced, we had a great chance of not only getting to the Finals, but of winning the entire thing!

We had Swansea at home next, and this was a match I really wanted to win. Our form was taking a battering, and it was a perfect chance to right the ship. My defense, however, had other plans – we lost 3-2 thanks to some torrid defending, and we looked nothing like the team that took away two wins against Tottenham and Arsenal at the beginning of the year. This was a disaster of a match – there was no reason we should have lost against a team that is considered no more than our equal, at home no less. I was getting frustrated.

I decided to have a team meeting a day before going away to face Bristol City, and it must have worked on Kubik, because inside 25 minutes, he scored a brace for us. They hit us back at the stroke of half-time, so we went into the dressing room with a 2-1 lead. Our starting GK Papa Coulibaly was away on international duty, so the pressure was on Andy Dixon – this was only his second appearance all year. Five minutes into the second half, we were gifted a penalty, which Gilmar put away with full confidence. I refused to get my hopes up at this point, but I was starting to feel we could end our month off on a positive note with a win we desperately needed. Alas, as I expected, they hit us with two quick goals, and the match ended in a 3-3 draw – a great result for the neutrals, but one that left us potentially only seven points away from the relegation zone.

All in all, this was an extremely frustrating month – the only positives were Musah’s form and the fact we had a very real chance of winning the FA Cup. But our league form was terrible, and it is something that HAS to improve as we enter the final stretch of the season. It simply will not do for us to get bogged down in a relegation fight after we had done so well to stay in the mid-table this season.

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CHAMPIONS CUP 2017/2018

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Second Round

Liverpool vs. AC Milan (4 - 3)

First Leg – Anfield, Liverpool (Att: 45,362): Both teams were back in the Champions League after not qualifying last season, both teams were Runners-Up in their domestic leagues last season, and both teams were in 6th Place this year. In other words, two extremely even teams were matched up together on paper. However, it was the home team that came out on top, thanks to a MotM performance from GK Jose Manuel Reina. The Liverpool legend managed to keep a clean sheet for his team, and the club managed to do the job offensively, scoring two goals to give them a sizable lead heading into Italy for the second leg.

Liverpool: 2 (Eriksen, Suarez)

AC Milan: 0

Second Leg – San Siro, Milan (Att: 73,549): An exciting second leg went in favor of the home side, but Liverpool qualified to the Quarter-Finals on aggregate. Pato scored a fantastic brace while Brazilian rising star Xaropinho also pitched in, but Luis Suarez’s second goal of the tie finalized the deal and sent Milan packing. The MotM was Pato after his two goals, but it was not enough on this day.

AC Milan: 3 (Pato (2), Xaropinho)

Liverpool: 2 (Cabaye, Suarez)

Benfica vs. Real Madrid (3 - 1)

First Leg – Estadio da Luz, Lisbon (Att: 65,647): The defending champions were shocked by the Portuguese champions, who were the better team in front of their home crowd. A spectacular performance by young Albanian central defender Erjon Licaj, who scored a goal and recorded an 8.9 AR, was the catalyst to Benfica’s famous win. The rest of the defense also played extremely well, resulting in a clean sheet against one of the most potent offensive forces in the world.

Benfica: 1 (Licaj)

Real Madrid: 0

Second Leg – Santiago Bernebau, Madrid (Att: 90,564): A huge shock of a result as Benfica stole the show in Madrid, winning 2-1 and knocking out the defending champions. Madrid, much like the first leg, looked uninspired and tired, and their offense was once again kept under control by the Benfica defense. John Obi Mikel captured the MotM, delivering an assist and recording a 8.3 AR. Madrid’s exit sent shockwaves around the footballing world, as they were the favorites to retain the Champions League trophy.

Real Madrid: 1 (Ozil)

Benfica: 2 (Pereyra, Roux)

CSKA Moscow vs. Paris Saint-Germain (0 - 4)

First Leg – CSKA-Peschanoye, Moscow (Att: 35,000): Semi-Finalists in 2017, CSKA Moscow was hoping for another surprising run, but were given a rude wake-up call by the current French Ligue 1 leaders. Diego Perotti scored midway through the first half, and it was to be the only goal of the game, as Moscow were shut out at home. The MotM was PSG captain Javier Pastore, who recorded an 8.0 AR for the French club.

CSKA Moscow: 0

Paris Saint-Germain: 1 (Perotti)

Second Leg – Parc des Princes, Paris (Att: 46,982): After losing at home, Moscow seemingly gave up hope, and PSG dominated the match in Paris, sending them to the Quarter-Finals of the competition. It was a great all-around performance from the French club, and defender Mamadou Sakho was given the MotM for the great game he played at the heart of the defense.

Paris Saint-Germain: 3 (Schelotto, Pastore, Macheda)

CSKA Moscow: 0

Sporting Lisbon vs. Manchester United (0 - 4)

First Leg – Estadio Jose Alvalade Seculo XXI, Lisbon (Att: 49,036): Back in Champions League action after failing to qualify last year, Manchester United were all business. One of the most dominant teams in Europe the past ten years, having reached the Finals on five occasions and winning the competition in 2008, they did not miss a step, dominating the match in Portugal and coming away 3-0 winners. Sporting were extremely poor on the night, and the fact that Man United only had 4 shots on goal and converted 3 of them speaks loudly. They also had 61% of the possession, mostly due the dominance in the midfield, and the superb play of Eden Hazard, who had an assist, 8.6 AR, an won the MotM.

Sporting: 0

Manchester United: 3 (Rooney, Badelj, Hernandez)

Second Leg – Old Trafford, Manchester (Att: 86,712): Playing at home, Manchester United were in second gear all game long, but to their credit, they were never threatened by a vastly inferior Sporting team. A single goal was scored in the match, giving Manchester the victory both in the game and in the tie. Eden Hazard again captured the MotM, proving himself to be the most influential player in the tie on both sides.

Manchester United: 1 (Sousa)

Sporting: 0

Dortmund vs. Lyonnais (1 - 3)

First Leg – Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund (Att: 65,289): This was one of the more high profile matchups in the Second Round, and it did not fail to disappoint in its first leg. The match itself was even, and the 1-1 scoreline was a fair one. Lyonnais struck first, and it was their Armenian midfielder Henrick Mkhitaryan who won the MotM with a 7.7 AR. Dortmund would be disappointed that they could not manage a win on home soil.

Dortmund: 1 (Schmelzer)

Lyonnais: 1 (Belfodil)

Second Leg – Stade de Lumieres, Lyon (Att: ): Dortmund were disappointing in the second leg in France, falling meekly to Lyonnais 2-0, who did not look their best, either. Still, it was another season of underachievement for the German side, who had been knocked out in the Group Stages twice in a row prior to this season. Mkhitaryan again won the MotM as he was behind both goals, controlling the midfield with great poise and ease.

Lyonnais: 2 (Belfodil, Ait Fana)

Dortmund: 0

POAK vs. Tottenham (1 - 6)

First Leg – Toumba, Salonika (Att: 28,701): There were no surprises here, as Tottenham, who have been competing at the top of the English Premier League table all season, ran out easy winners, 3-1. It was a good all-around performance, and superstar left winger Gareth Bale grabbed the MotM, handing out 1 assist and getting a 9.0 AR.

POAK: 1 (Papasterianos)

Tottenham: 3 (Rondon, Shawcross, Sandro)

Second Leg – White Hart Lane, London (Att: ): It was business as usual for Tottenham in their bid to advance to their third straight Champions League Finals, defeating POAK at home 3-0 in convincing fashion. Defender Ryan Shawcross got his second goal of the tie, as did Salomon Rondon, and the former also won the MotM due to his near perfect performance (9.3 AR).

Tottenham: 3 (Bale, Shawcross, Rondon)

POAK: 0

FC Kobenhavn vs. Barcelona (1 - 5)

First Leg – Parken, Copenhagen (Att: 38,922): An impressive performance by Barcelona away from home was led by MotM Alan Dzagoev, who scored a goal, dished out an assist, and recorded an 8.9 AR. Substitute Bojan scored a brace as well, and it was generally an easy game for the Spanish team, who are on a mission to prove that the most successful and greatest club squad ever assembled was not through just yet.

FC Kobenhavn: 0

Barcelona: 3 (Bojan (2), Dzagoev)

Second Leg – Nou Camp, Barcelona (Att: 86,107): This was not quite the performance Barcelona wanted, but they ended up with the result they needed, winning the match 2-1. It was actually FC Kobenhavn who shocked the home crowd and struck first, but the Spanish club countered with two quick goals before the end of the first half, and that is how it stayed. Alexis Sanchez captured the MotM, but again it was Dzagoev who caught the eye, scoring yet another goal for his club.

Barcelona: 2 (Sigurdsson, Dzagoev)

FC Kobenhavn: 1 (Christiansen)

FC Salzburg vs. Arsenal (1 - 5)

First Leg – Red Bull Arena, Salzburg (Att: 29,800): Arsenal were poor in their win away from home over Salzburg – they had one chance at goal, and they took it. MotM Marek Hamsik was the only standout performer from either side, scoring the game’s only goal. A thoroughly disappointing and drab affair that showcased the worst of both teams.

FC Salzburg: 0

Arsenal: 1 (Hamsik)

Second Leg – Emirates Stadium, London (Att: 59,815): There was no repeat of the awfulness the overcame Arsenal in Austria, as the English club ran out 4-1 winners in a dominant display by its midfield. Salzburg were completely out of their depth, and only scored because they were awarded a penalty in the dying minutes of the match. Stevan Jovetic was especially impressive, winning the MotM after scoring a goal and recording an 8.9 AR.

Arsenal: 4 (Jovetic, Hamsik, Ramsey, Griezmann)

FC Salzburg: 1 (Alan)

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I can't see any of the bottom three making up a 10+ points lead in eight games on you, but I agree it can be so frustrating to seemingly throw away a very strong campaign. It'll be easy to be quite annoyed by survival if you do it by falling over the line though, I've been there.

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DIJON BOUGHT BY BRAZILIAN TYCOON

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Dijon were bought by a Brazilian tycoon today who has promised as much as £50,000,000 in transfer signings this coming summer. The estimated value of the club has risen to £52,000,000, and the new owner, Mario Henrique Santiago, has promised he will stop at nothing when it comes to turning the club into a force in football.

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I love the contrast between your 5,000 attendances and everyone else. Like that you hammered Norwich in the cup as well.

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I can't see any of the bottom three making up a 10+ points lead in eight games on you, but I agree it can be so frustrating to seemingly throw away a very strong campaign. It'll be easy to be quite annoyed by survival if you do it by falling over the line though, I've been there.

After fighting so hard to get here, and that incredible run that took us to the Premier League in six seasons from the BSS, you get a little bit paranoid looking over your shoulder! I really hope we dont blow this :(

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I love the contrast between your 5,000 attendances and everyone else. Like that you hammered Norwich in the cup as well.

Lol, well, its the curse of moving up too quickly, I guess. Norwich have been a bane in our side, but that has all changed now :)

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Yeah, the bane of moving too fast is the stadium and facilities don't keep up. How long till your new stadium?

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Dijon should be as hot as mustard with that amount of money! :D

LOL!! It will definitely be interesting to see if this small club can transform over the next coming years :)

Yeah, the bane of moving too fast is the stadium and facilities don't keep up. How long till your new stadium?

It a due for summer of 2018, but construction started one year late, so summer of 2019, which is pretty much a year from now.

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You're looking solid for a mid-table finish. Surely you can't be caught?

Either way, great 1st season :thup:

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You're looking solid for a mid-table finish. Surely you can't be caught?

Either way, great 1st season :thup:

I think Ive done just enough to ensure tht there is no way to fall into a relegation battle - the big news, however, is the fact that we are now in teh FA CUP FINALS!

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Bromley April Update 2017/2018

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Overview

We started out the month at home against Wolves, and I was desperate to stop our winless streak and keep our mid-table position. Lukas Kubik joined Ebby Harwood on the injured list just before the match, however, leaving us having to start Diego on the left wing. It took us 91 minutes to find a goal – just as I was losing hope, Gilmar put away the only goal of the match, giving us a priceless 1-0 victory and three points.

We had Stoke next – they were in 19th Place and had conceded the second most goals of any team in the Premier League this season. This was not a team doing well, and it was one should convincingly have been able to beat. Captain Elliot Law was making his return, but Kubik would still be unavailable, so I shifted Emmanuel Musah to left wing, and placed Diego behind Law, giving us a 4-4-1-1 formation. Both teams played an exciting first half, but neither could find the net. In the second half, again there were no goals, and we finished with a disappointing goalless draw against possibly the weakest, or at best, the second weakest squad in the Premier League. At home, no less. This was a team that conceded goals frequently, and yet we could not break through their defense. I was not impressed, to say the least – we barely beat Wolves at home and we couldn’t find a way to finish off Stoke in front of our home fans. They deserved better.

With five games left in the season, we travelled to Southampton, a team that was in 8th Place and playing some good football. They had no hope for European football as they were ten points behind Arsenal in 7th Place, but their form remained steady and consistent. This, on paper, was going to be a difficult game for us. We had Kubik back, so he was going to get the start at left wing. This was not one for the purists, and we ended up losing 4-3 - with all four of the goals conceded, the defense was to blame. Elliot Law hit a brace for us, but we still ended up losing a game we should have won. Frustration reigned supreme yet again, we just could not seem to get our form together.

Going into the Sunderland match in the FA Cup Semi-Finals, I was extremely worried. The team just was not getting the job done, and we were extremely spotty in defense. Sunderland may have been a Championship team, but had enough talent to be competing in the Premier League. My anxiety was eased somewhat when Musah gave us a 1-0 lead, but Connor Wickham responded immediately for them. The first half came to an end, and with it came an injury to Gilmar. In the second half, things turned for the worse when young Kieran Holland, who had earned the starting right back position, was sent off in controversial circumstances for a violent tackle. We were 1-1 and a man down with a lot of time left on the clock. Somehow, we held on, and the game went into extra-time, and instead of buckling under the pressure of it all, my boys thrived. Musah hit his second of the game and it was shortly followed by a Kubik strike, giving us the 3-1 victory and a trip to the Finals of the FA Cup against either Brighton or Bristol City. Either way, the FA Cup, I felt, was ours for the taking, no matter who our competition was – it’s a pity I wasn’t following this earlier to notice all the big teams had exited (Manchester United, for example, were knocked out by Norwich, whom we thrashed 5-1 the following round). In unbelievable circumstances, we were now one win away from European action!

The next match was at St. James Park against relegation threatened Newcastle – they were currently in 19th Place, one point away from safety, and trying desperately to stay in the Premier League. I was not about to do anyone any favors, however – although we were away, I wanted to see us gain the three points, because if we did, it would become mathematically impossible for us to fall lower than 17th Place. This was an assurance I had to have, especially considering we lost to them earlier this season, giving up a hat-trick to a defender (Lewis Dunk) who had never scored previously in his entire career. What transpired was a hugely disappointing 1-0 loss to a team that did not even look like it wanted to win. We lost to a team that seemed more interested in going home and taking a hot shower than it was to score a goal – what does that say about us? The good news was it was now impossible for us to be relegated, given that there were only three games to play and we were eleven points above the relegation zone. Still, what a horrible experience of a game this was. As it stood, going into May, we had won one game in our last ten Premier League matches.

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FA CUP FINAL 2018

Bromley vs. Bristol City

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This was it – somehow, we had ended up in the FA Cup Finals without playing a single Premier League opponent, and our opponent was the very beatable Bristol City. If we won this, we were amazingly going to be in Europe. Our form up to this point had been terrible, and herein laid the problem – we just could not seem to win games the past couple of months, and when we did, it was by the slimmest of margins. We managed a great extra-time victory against Sunderland in the Semi-Finals, and that was the heart and desire I was looking for from my boys.

The first half ended goalless, although both teams had their chances. We had a couple of point-blank shots in front of their goal, one for Musah and the other for Law, but bother strikers failed to convert, to my dismay. If I had to choose a side from the first half, I would have given it to us, although just slightly. We looked a little more dangerous going forward, but still, we had not converted anything.

When Bristol City came out of the gates for the second half, they knew exactly what they were after, and put us on the backburner for the next 25 minutes. We simply could not contend, and it was only our luck that they could not manage to find the back of the net. On the 70th minute mark, Aron Gunnarsson picked up his second yellow card, and Bristol City were down to ten men.

Four minutes after that, in the 74th minute, it was our captain, our beloved all-time best player, Elliot Law, that finally found the net, giving us a 1-0 lead with fifteen minutes left in the game. He was having the weakest game out of all our starting eleven (except for Kevin Long, who was substituted for Alexandre earlier), and I was reaching a point where I was considering throwing Kubik upfront with Musah and bringing in Harwood. As he had done time and time again the past few seasons, he found a way to score for his club in the most important of occasions.

The final fifteen minutes were a very nervous affair, but Bristol City never gave us anything that really threatened Papa Coulibaly’s goal. As time ran out, it seemed they had succumbed to defeat before the final whistle blew. When it finally did, it was a tremendous occasion for the myself, the club, and of course, the man who made it all possible, the MotM, Elliot Law. How fitting it was that he was the one that would win the title for us – it could not have been a better ending. In the most improbable of circumstances, we were FA Cup Champions for the first time in our history, and we were headed to Europe! I am still in disbelief.

Not only did we win the FA Cup and send ourselves to Europe, but we were also given a much needed £1,830,000 – the board had previously injected £4,000,000 earlier in the season, and with the TV money coming in every month, we were turning a profit. With the two extra payments, we were a few million in the black now, and our financial position was back to an OK state!

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Bromley? FA Cup winners? I must be hallucinating! Time to stop sniffing the permanent markers! :D

Seriously, well done! Must be the pinnacle of your career so far.

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Bromley? FA Cup winners? I must be hallucinating! Time to stop sniffing the permanent markers! :D

Seriously, well done! Must be the pinnacle of your career so far.

Fanatastic stuff winning the F.A cup :thup:
Lets see what you can push on to do.

Thanks! In all my years of FM, I have never seen a team win it without faving Premier Legue competition, which is exactly what happened to us up until the Finals, and even then it was only Bristol City. A fantastic end to a frustrating but successful first season in the Premier League :)

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Frank Lampard – Player Profile

Born in Romford, England, on June 20th, 1978 to a footballing family, Frank Lampard Jr. played his entire career with only two clubs – West Ham United and Chelsea. He featured for England in 118 caps, scoring 27 goals for his country and going on to become one of the best ever midfielders his home nation ever produced. His career started with West Ham in 1994, and he steadily became more important to the team with each progressing season. In 1998, he won the Euro Vase with the club, his first year as a full-time starter. He spent three more seasons with West Ham, and was widely considered the best player at the club in each of those seasons, leading to his sale to Chelsea in 2001 for £11,000,000.

In his first four seasons with his new club, he missed a grand total of one league game during the entire span, finally culminating in 2004/2005, as he scored a career high 13 league goals and won his first Premier League title in his career. He was Runner-Up in the World Footballer of the Year and won the English Footballer of the Year that same season, ascending to world-wide fame and becoming known as one of the best midfielders on the planet. Chelsea repeated as Premier League champions in 2006, the second time out of a total of four times he would lift the title (2005, 2006, 2010, 2014). He also won the FA Cup for the first time, going on to win it four times total in his career (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010). In 2008, Lampard would advance to the first of two Champions League Finals he would participate in, unfortunately losing to Manchester United in 2008 on penalties, and underdogs Fiorentina in 2014.

Frank Lampard would experience the best form of his career from the 2009/2010 season, when he scored a career high 22 league goals and captured the Premier League title, up till the 2013/2014 season, where he won his fourth and final Premier League title. During that stretch, in 2011/2012, he was named Chelsea’s Player of the Year and chosen to the Premier League Select, and in 2012/2013, he won the English Footballer of the Year for the second time in his career (2005, 2013), was chosen to the Premier League select for the second straight year, and set the Premier League record for most assists in a season with 21, a record that still stands till this day. He was again named Chelsea’s Player of the Year, and was voted to his first of two World Team of the Year (2013, 2014). The following year, in 2013/2014, widely considered his last great season, he was voted as Runner-Up in the English Footballer of the Year, capturing, as mentioned before, his last Premier League title, and getting named to his third and last Premier League Select (2012, 2013, 2014).

His career began to slowly come to an end after that stretch, playing two more seasons at a high level before spending his last two years on Chelsea’s bench under manager Sinisa Mihajlovic. During those five years, however, you would have been hard-pressed to find a more influential player on his team than Frank Lampard, and he was easily one of the top midfielders in the world. A class act on and off the pitch, he was also a key member of the English national team for many years, and was part of the team that reached the Finals of the Euro 2012, eventually losing out to Spain. A legend for both clubs he played for, on his best day, was considered in the same breath as the other midfield legends of his generation, such as Xavi and Iniesta. Overall, he was one of the top players in the world from the mid to late 2000s to the early mid 2010s.

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CHAMPIONS CUP 2017/2018

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QUARTER-FINALS

Manchester United vs. Arsenal (2 - 1)

First Leg – Old Trafford, Manchester (Att: 94,746): (Note: I had mentioned that Manchester United had failed to qualify last year earlier, but they did and lost out in the Quarter-Finals to Arsenal.) This was a rematch of the same tie last year, which Arsenal won after taking a 2-0 victory away from the English Premier League champions in Manchester. This season, Man United coasted through the Group Stages and Second Round, while last year’s Semi-Finalists Arsenal also had an easy time, albeit they were very unimpressive against Salzburg away from home. However, they faced a rough situation as their two best performers in the Champions League, Stevan Jovetic (6 Aps, 2 Gls, 3 Asts, 2 MotM, 7.67) and Marek Hamsik (8 Aps, 4 Gls, 7.56) were both unavailable for this match, with the former being out for the second tie as well, having injured his wrist. Manchester United had no injury problems, and Eden Hazard (7 Aps, 2 Asts, 7.50) and Javier Hernandez (7 Aps, 4 Gls) were both ready and available.

It was Hazard who opened up the scoring for the home side in a match they dominated – Arsenal were lucky to get away having only conceded two goals. There was no repeat of last year’s underwhelming performance at home, as Manchester had 24 shots (9 on target) ad 55% of the possession. It took them until the 92nd minute, however, to find their second goal through Fabio Coentrao (7 Aps, 2 Asts, 6.77), giving the home side a score they deserved. Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey was injured and ruled out for the remainder of the season with a torn hamstring, and Man Utd defender Chris Smalling (8 Aps, 3.90 TpG, 7.22) captured the MotM as Man United kept a clean sheet.

Manchester United: 2 (Hazard, Coentrao)

Arsenal: 0

Second Leg – Emirates Stadium, London (Att: 60,361): This was a bittersweet victory for Manchester United – they lost the match, but advanced to meet their continental rivals Barcelona in the Semi-Finals. In the ninth minute, however, they lost Eden Hazard for the rest of the season with a broken ankle. The Belgian midfielder was, along with Hernandez, the club’s best player this season and amongst the finest on the planet. Now, however, Manchester will have to find ways to win without their midfield talisman. Arsenal absolutely dominated this match, but could not find a way to score more than one goal, which inevitably knocked them out of the competition by the same team they has eliminated last season at this stage.

Arsenal: 1 (Walcott)

Manchester United: 0

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Tottenham (6 - 4)

First Leg – Parc des Princes, Paris (Att: 54,453): These two teams had faced each other four times in this competition since 2011, in the Group Stages in 2012/13 and 2015/16, of which Tottenham had won three times, drawing the final game played between them. PSG were on course to capture the French Ligue 1 title this season, and in the Champions League, they had topped their group and made short work of CSKA Moscow in the Second Round. Diego Perotti (5 Aps, 4 Gls, 3 Asts, 7.62) and Javier Pastore (8 Aps, 1 Goal, 2 Asts, 3 MotM, 7.58) were the top performers in a team where nearly all the starting eleven were in great form. Tottenham were on a quest to advance to their third straight Finals, but this time and for the first time in their history, they wanted to win the Champions League. The talent was certainly there, and like their opponents, nearly their entire starting eleven were playing exceptional. Edison Cavani (8 Aps, 5 Gls, 7.57) had just recently broken the English Premier League’s goal scoring record in a season, while Salomon Rondon (8 Aps, 7 Gls, 7.66) led them in scoring in the competition. There was to be no goals scored for Tottenham in Paris, however, despite their awesome offensive unit – in fact, it was PSG who scored three of their own, with two goals coming from Frederic Macheda (9 Aps, 4 Gls) and the final goal an own goal by Tottenham GK Fernando Muslera. Macheda captured the MotM after his fantastic brace, and PSG were headed to London with a three goal advantage and one step into the Semi-Finals.

Paris Saint-Germain: 3 (Macheda, Muslera O.G.)

Tottenham: 0

Second Leg – White Hart Lane, London (Att: 36,310): There would no return to the Finals for Tottenham as they succumbed to Paris Saint-Germain despite winning a highly entertaining match in London. PSG scored two goals before the ten minute mark, effectively ending the tie, and despite Tottenham storming back to score four goals, the deficit was far too wide to make up. Frederico Macheda again scored a brace for his club, and again won the MotM – to put it simply, he was the reason Tottenham were knocked out. In the years coming, Macheda will go down in the London club’s folklore as the man who singlehandedly ended their Champions League dreams this season, and will take his place among the historic figures of PSG as he led them to an all-French Semi-Finals matchup against Lyonnais.

Tottenham: 4 (Cavani, Rondon, Pereira, Delph)

Paris Saint-Germain: 3 (Macheda (2), Witsel)

Barcelona vs. Benfica (7 - 3)

First Leg – Nou Camp, Barcelona (Att: ): After getting embarrassed last year by Tottenham in the Second Round, Barcelona have been on a mission to recapture the Champions League title – they had won it six times since 2006, the start of the “Barcelona Era”. They had faced Benfica four times before in this competition – twice in 2012/13 during the Group Stages, and also during 2015/16, knocking them out in the Second Round, winning all four matches. Alexis Sanchez (7 Aps, 5 Gls, 4 MotM, 8.24) had been one of the best players in the competition over the past decade, and this year was no different. He was joined by Russian superstar Alan Dzagoev (7 Aps, 3 Gls, 3 Asts, 7.73), and, of course, the undeniable Lionel Messi (3 Aps, 3 Gls, 7.77), who again had to contend with injury problems for most of the season. For Benfica, their top performers were two young defenders – Erjon Licaj (7 Als, 1 Goal, 4.30 TpG, 7.35) and Hector Mpile (6 Aps, 1 Goal, 7.20).

No amount of defending could help them against the onslaught that ensued at the Nou Camp, however, as Barcelona exited the match victorious 5-0. Sanchez nailed a spectacular hat-trick, winning the MotM, and Cesc Fabregas (9 Aps, 2 Gls, 3 Asts, 7.37) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (8 Aps, 3 Gls, 5 Asts, 7.51) pitching in the other two. Benfica had simply no response, and were as good as out of the Champions League going into the second leg.

Barcelona: 5 (Sanchez (3), Fabregas, Sigurdsson)

Benfica: 0

Second Leg – Estadio da Luz, Lisbon (Att: 65,647): Going into the second leg in Lisbon, this tie was already effectively over, as Barcelona had taken a five goal advantage. That did not stop Benfica from trying, however, and they managed to win this one. Barcelona were clearly not trying their hardest, but even then, they still managed to get two goals – they only ended up losing thanks to an own goal by GK Victor Valdes. Alexis Sanchez again grabbed the MotM, even though he did not score any goals – that honor went to Messi and Dzagoev.

Benfica: 3 (Rodrigo, Roux, Valdes O.G.)

Barcelona: 2 (Messi, Dzagoev)

Liverpool vs. Lyonnais (1 - 4)

First Leg – Anfield, Liverpool (Att: 45,362): These two teams had previously only met twice, in the 2015/16 Group Stages, so there was not a lot of history between them. Liverpool were back in the Champions League after an absence last year, and they overcame AC Milan in the Second Round, while Lyonnais were knocked out by Porto last season, but overcame a strong (but underachieving) Dortmund squad in the Second Round. The first leg was an exciting affair, one which the home side ended up losing because of their inability to defend the counter-attack. Lyonnais captain Henrick Mkhitaryan (9 Aps, 1 Goal, 9 Asts, 7.77) continued his fantastic form in the competition, scoring the first goal and winning the MotM, while their leading goalscorer Ishak Belfodil (6 Aps, 6 Gls) hit the second just before the 25th minute mark. After this match, the French were happy to sit back and defend, and it was not until the 88th minute that Liverpool finally scored a goal of their own through aging striker Moussa Sow.

Liverpool: 1 (Sow)

Lyonnais: 2 (Mkhitaryan, Belfodil)

Second Leg – Stade de Lumieres, Lyon (Att: 61,556): After taking an impressive victory away from home, Lyonnais finalized their qualification to the Semi-Finals at home, defeating Liverpool 2-0. Hugo Lloris put in a MotM performance between the posts for the French side, keeping a clean sheet, while on the other end, it took exactly one minute for £24,500,000 man Willian (9 Aps, 1 Goal) to score, finding the net for the first time in the competition this season. Jimmy Briand (9 Aps, 4 Gls, 3 Asts, 7.52) converted a penalty in the 29th minute, and the game was effectively over after that. For the first time since 2012, Lyonnais were back in the Semi-Finals.

Lyonnais: 2 (Willian, Briand)

Liverpool: 0

SEMI-FINALS

Barcelona vs. Manchester United (4 – 3)

First Leg – Old Trafford, London (Att: 94,746): Europe’s most intense continental rivalry of the past decade was to add a new chapter in the Semi-Finals of the season’s competition – the English club lost three times to Barcelona in the Finals in 2009, 2011, and 2012, but in 2014, Manchester United got the best of the Spanish club in the Semi-Finals, besting them 4-0 at Old Trafford and exacting their revenge. This year, the English Premier League champions were on course to repeat as champions in the domestic league, while Barcelona was in a huge battle with their bitter rivals, and La Liga champions, Real Madrid over their own domestic title.

As promised, this match delivered all the drama and excitement one could imagine, and it was finally Manchester United that pulled through 3-2, but not after a ferocious battle from their opponents. Alexis Sanchez (10 Aps, 9 Gls, 3 Asts, 6 MotM, 8.25), the best player in the Champions League this season, hit the first goal of the match, but Javier Hernandez (10 Aps, 6 Gls) scored a brace along with a Chris Smalling goal to finish off the Catalans. Hernandez captured the MotM, but the two goals scored by Barcelona away from home could prove to be vital as they return to the Nou Camp for the second leg.

Manchester United: 3 (Hernandez (2), Smalling)

Barcelona: 2 (Sanchez, Sigurdsson)

Second Leg – Nou Camp, Barcelona(Att: 103,949): On a day when neither Messi, Sanchez, nor Dzagoev were in good form, Barcelona showed exactly why they are considered the best team in the world as Gylfi Sigurdsson (11 Aps, 6 Gls, 5 Asts, 7.65) took to the mantle and scored a brace to knock out Manchester United and send Barcelona to its sixth Finals in ten years. It seemed that no matter who you chose to control, they always had someone who could break you, and if you keep three of the world’s best players under wraps for the full length of the match, as Mancester United did, you could still end up not only losing, but getting outplayed. That was the case in the second leg of this tie between the continental rivals, and it was Barcelona, led by Roberto Mancini, who would get the better out of Manchester United yet again.

Barcelona: 2 (Sigurdsson (2) )

Manchester United: 0

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Lyonnais (1 – 3)

First Leg – Parc des Princes, Paris (Att: ): For the first time in the history of the competition (I think), two French clubs squared off in the Semi-Finals of the Champions League, ensuring that the French Ligue 1 would have a representative in the Finals for the first time since 2004, when Monaco lost to Porto.

It was a tight affair and an extremely defensive match, but not without its chances. However, only Javier Pastore (11 Ap, 2 Gls, 4 Asts, 4 MotM, 7.60) was able to find the net and give the home side a small, but important, 1-0 victory. The Argentine also won the MotM, and continued to prove why he was considered one of the best midfielders on the planet. PSG were close to unseeding Lyonnais as French Ligue 1 champions this season, so there was extra motivation for them to defeat their rivals in Lyon and advance to the Finals.

Paris Saint-Germain: 1 (Pastore)

Lyonnais: 0

Second Leg – Stade de Lumieres, Lyon (Att: 61,556): Paris Saint-Germain had wrapped up the French Ligue 1 title, winning it for the first time since 2015 and replacing none other than Lyonnais as champions. The Lyon side, however, would get the best of them in the Champions League, gaining their revenge in spectacular fashion. Again, it was Henrick Mkhitaryan (11 Aps, 3 Gls, 9 Asts, 7.73) who was at the center of their accomplishment, scoring a fantastic brace and winning the MotM. Lyonnais advanced to their first ever Champions League Finals, where they would face the greatest squad every assembled desperately trying to prove that their team was not finished. Patrice Cateron, who was hired in 2014, had led his team to the biggest stage in club football.

Lyonnais: 3 (Mkhitaryan (2), Nainggolan)

Paris Saint-Germain: 0

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Congrats on the FA Cup win - magnificent achievement! And on the Manager of the Year award, good to see you're getting the recognition you deserve :thup:

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CHAMPIONS CUP 2017/2018

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Barcelona vs. Lyonnais

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Swedebank Arena – Stockholm, Sweden (Att: 50,000): There was no denying that facing each other in the Champions League Finals this year were the two best teams over the course of the competition. Lyonnais had conceded three goals in six knockout stages games, while Barcelona had dismantled its opponents through sheer offensive force. Both teams had one thing in common, though – their strength lay in their midfield. For Barcelona, its stars were amongst the best players on the planet: Alexis Sanchez (11 Aps, 9 Gls, 3 Asts, 6 MotM, 8.13), who was the favorite to win the competition’s Player of the Year, Gylfi Sigurdsson (11 Aps, 6 Gls, 5 Asts), Alan Dzagoev (11 Aps, 4 Gls, 4 Asts), and, of course, Lionel Messi (7 Aps, 4 Gls). Barcelona had assembled the greatest club squad of all-time, and they were desperate to prove that their time was not done. This was a team that had never lost in the Finals of the Champions League in seven tries, and this was their eighth trip. To top it all off, they had just reclaimed the Spanish La Liga title from bitter rivals Real Madrid. Lyonnais were riding the sensational form of their captain Henrick Mkhitaryan (12 Aps, 3 Gls, 9 Asts, 7.73) – the Armenian international had been outstanding all season long. Their leading goal scorer was Ishak Belfodil (9 Aps, 6 Gls), and they also had a rock in the back in Aly Cissokho (9 Aps, 4.60 TpG, 7.47).

Lyonnais came out of the gates with all guns blazing, taking in attack after attack in the early minutes of the match. Barcelona were caught off-guard and were overwhelmed, and in the 7th minute, Vaclav Kadlec (9 Aps, 4 Gls) scored the first goal of the match, give the underdogs an 1-0 lead. They did not take their foot of the gas, however, and the French club kept up the intense pressure, finding the net again in the 24th minute through Ishak Belfodil – Barcelona were dumbfounded. They simply had no answer so far for the intensity of pressure their opponents were displaying. Attempting to respond, Barcelona nearly one back in the 30th minute, but two point blank saves, one a second after the other, by GK Hugo Lloris kept the clean sheet surviving. For the last fifteen minutes of the first half, Barcelona turned into the team everyone was used to seeing from them, attacking Lloris’ goal relentlessly, but they could not beat the French keeper. The first half would end in a 2-0 lead for Lyonnais.

The second half started much in the same way the first half ended, with the Spanish side continuing their assault on the Lyonnais goal, but time and time again, Lloris would stop the ball from entering the net. Then, in the 62nd minute, Alberto Carpio, who had come on for Josue, conceded a penalty – this time, however, Jeremy Briand could not convert, the score remained 2-0. As the final twenty minutes approached, Barcelona began to slow down, and Lyonnais were happy to see out the remaining time defending, something which they did successfully. They had handed Barcelona their first ever loss in the Champions League Finals, and had won the competition for the first time in their history. Kadlec was crowned MotM for his impressive performance against them, and the celebrations in France began – it was the first time a French team had captured the Champions League title since Marseille last did it in 1992.

Lyonnais: 2 (Kadlec, Belfodil)

Barcelona: 0

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Awards

Best Player

Alexis Sanchez, Barcelona12 Appearances, 9 Goals, 3 Assists, 6 MotM, 8.03: For the second time in his stories career, the Chilean international captured the Champions League Best Player award, only the third player to achieve that honor (Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both have won it three times). His performances were the main reason why Barcelona advanced to the Finals, and he was also the Top Goalscorer in this season’s edition of the Champions League, as well. Despite losing in the Finals, Sanchez was, without a doubt, the player in finest form this season in the competition.

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well done on the fa cup win and brilliant updates. Must take ages

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Congrats on the FA Cup win - magnificent achievement! And on the Manager of the Year award, good to see you're getting the recognition you deserve :thup:

Thanks! To finish 14th and still get Manager of the year - they must have thought I was going to set new records of lowness this year!

well done on the fa cup win and brilliant updates. Must take ages

Thanks! I really hope you enjoy the updates - I love witing them, but you are right, they do take time :)

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Bromley 2017/2018 Review

Premier League: 14th Place (Media Prediction: 20th Place)

FA Cup: Winners – Defeated Bristol City 1-0

League Cup: Fourth Round, lost to Tottenham 3-2

Season Review

This was a most successful season – despite the maddeningly inconsistent form we displayed, defeating the best of teams and losing games we should have easily won, we survived our first season in the Premier League without ever really getting into a relegation fight. We hit great form in late December and into January, defeating Tottenham then Arsenal, and that really pushed us over the top in terms of avoiding the bottom three spots. We ended the season with real spotty performances, but we dropped a few places in the table, but by then we had already put more than enough distance between us and the relegation candidates.

The story of the season, of course, was our remarkable FA Cup run. We were very lucky in that we did not face any Premier League competition until the Finals, and even then, it was Bristol City. I was not paying much attention, as with each victory I figured we would finally run into an opponent that was far more superior to us, but it never happened. We took out Rotherham and Burnley in the first two rounds before Leeds gave us fits in the Fifth Round. We needed a replay before we pushed past them, but we absolutely destroyed Norwich 5-1 in the Sixth Round. When the draws for the Semi-Finals were made and I realized that, other than our opponents Sunderland, only Brighton and Bristol City remained, I was completely shocked. I kept thinking this was unbelievable, and I was nervous somehow it was FM playing a trick on me, only to take it away from me in agonizing circumstances (you all know it does that on purpose!)

After a sensational extra-time victory against Championship squad Sunderland, we got the job done against Bristol City, defeating them 1-0 and booking a spot in Europe! That was the most insane part – we were going to have our chance on the continent next season! Exciting times ahead for Bromley, although we do still have to wait another year for Bromley Stadium to be completed.

The entire season, I was being told we were in a poor financial state, and the board even injected £4,000,000 in March, but after nearly £2,500,000 was given to us for our Semi-Final and Final wins in the FA Cup, and an additional £5,600,000 for our finishing place in the Premier League, we are now over £11,000,000 in the black. We had been making between £1,500,000 and £2,000,000 in profit every month despite our 5,000 maximum attendance, mostly from TV money, so it is safe to say we currently do not have a financial situation on our hands.

All in all, the season could not have gone better – we survived the Premier League and won the FA Cup, which in itself, is truly brilliant. We look forward to competing in Europe next year, and maintaining our position in the Premier League – perhaps even improving on it. The best thing about it is, we did it on the smallest wage budget of any team playing in one of the top five leagues (England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain), at only £7,150,000 per annum. For that, I was crowned Premier League Manager of the Year, an honor considering it was my first season in the top flight.

Key Players:

Emmanuel Musah: He had his ups and downs in his second season with Bromley, but for the most part, the 20 year old German/Ghanaian striker played a crucial role in maintaining our survival in the Premier League. He wound up with 9 goals and 10 assists, and was rewarded with a new five year contract at the end of the season that now pays him £18,250 base salary.

Porvaldur Magnusson: This was certainly his most challenging season yet in a Bromley uniform, as he went from handing out 18 assists last year to only 2 this year. Still, he played in all but one league game and was one of our top performers – the 22 year old also managed to earn himself some U21 caps for the English national side.

Lukas Kubik: Our leading goalscorer with 12 league goals, the £5,000,000 20 year old Czech served mostly on the left wing this season for us, and did so admirably. He initially started the season with an ‘Awkward’ rating for left wing, but ended the season with a ‘Competent’ rating, showing quick improvement and adaptability. Was perhaps our most important player down the stretch towards the end of the season.

Elliot Law: The captain, and the scorer of our most important goal of all-time – the goal against Bristol City in the FA Cup Final. He managed a respectable 9 goals in 32 league appearances, again proving doubters that said he could not play on the Premier League level wrong. The 23 year old striker was overwhelmed quite a few times, however – whether he remains our starter next year is still up in the air. Our all-time appearances and goals scored holder.

Igor Chuvalskiy: The 20 year old midfielder was impressive in his first season, and even managed to earn himself his first cap for Russia. He scored 6 goals, and showed great ability to threaten from set pieces. He improved remarkably throughout the season, and cemented himself as the starting central midfielder alongside Magnusson very early in the season.

Gilmar: Still only 19 year old, the Brazilian winger has bundles of ability, and his pace caused problems down the right wing throughout the season. Like any youngster, the £6,750,000 signing had his dips in form, but the potential is there for everyone to see. Could be something special.

Jesper Alberts: His third year with the club, the 20 year old Belgian remained our most important central defender but had a disappointing season overall. He only avered 2.28 TpG, and had some games where he was nothing more than mediocre. Still, he is very young and has the ability to succeed at this level. He will retain his starting position going into next season.

Gaucho: Our most expensive signing of all-time, the 19 year old Brazilian came for £9,500,000, but still has ways to go to justify his hefty price tag. He showed flashes of brilliances playing alongside Alberts in the defense, but not quite enough to redeem the amount paid for him. He played in 37 league games, and his young age means he will continue to develop, something which he did at a remarkable rate this season.

Papa Coulibaly: Signed on free transfer after I lost faith in Raffaele Di Gennaro, Coulibaly provided us with solidity between the sticks for most of the season. Even the games where we conceded one too many goals, it was tough to lay the blame on him. He recorded 7 clean sheets in 33 appearances, and will be our starting GK going into next season.

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Notable Youths:

Ebby Harwood: Although he lost his starting position to Kubik, the 19 year old Bromley product still featured in 26 league games, scoring twice. He may never be a star, but he continues to develop into a serviceable rotation player, and filled in at key moments for us throughout the season.

Alexandre: Started and ended the season as our third choice center back, the 19 year old played in 26 league games for the club, although he still has ways to go in terms of consistent form. His 3.22 TpG was encouraging considering half his appearances were as a substitute, and his development was classified as significant this season.

Kieran Holland: At the age of 16, he won the starting right back position from Kevin Long after our vice-captain got injured and never gave it back. The potential is immense, and the 17 year old could easily be the best player the Bromley youth academy has ever produced.

Stelian Simu: Perhaps our most intriguing youngster, he did not get as much chances as I would have liked this season, but that did not slow his development. He has tremendous technical ability, potentially the best on the team in that department – I will be looking to give the 17 year old more opportunities come next season.

Transfers

I was given a transfer budget of about £25,000,000 this year, and I had no problem spending it. Our record signing, for £9,500,000, was Gaucho, and he was joined by fellow Brazilian Gilmar for £6,750,000. Another £5,000,000 for Lukas Kubik, and £3,700,000 for Igor Chuvalskiy, and our transfer kitty was gone! On the other end, there was a lot of free transfers as I got rid of players that were not good enough and players that were killing our wage budget – we did end up selling GK Raffaele Di Gennaro to Sampdoria for £1,000,000, so at least I recouped something back!

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